The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County fell by 12 people to 675, according to the latest state numbers.
Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 81 were being treated in intensive care, up from 72 the previous day.
The statewide total of COVID-positive patients decreased by 72 people to 2,404. Some of the patients entered the hospital for other reasons and learned they had the coronavirus after a mandated test.
Those numbers come one day after local health officials reported 1,417 new COVID infections and 19 additional deaths linked to the virus, bringing LA County’s cumulative totals to 3,680,571 cases and 35,325 fatalities since the pandemic began.
The daily case numbers released by the county’s Department of Public Health are undercounts of actual virus activity, due to people who use at-home tests and don’t report the results, and others who don’t test at all.
The majority of those who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hearts disease or hypertension.
While Los Angeles County remains in the “low” COVID-19 activity category, the county’s public health director continues to urge vigilance even as various states of emergency come to an end.
“It is a great relief to see that we remain in the low community level and my sincere hope is that we are entering a new phase with less devastation, severe illness, and death as residents continue to take advantage of the protections available,” Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Over the next few months, emergency orders at the federal and state level will lift, but we must not let go of all the lessons learned since March 2020, including those about how the virus spreads and how we can limit transmission and serious outcomes.”
She again urged people to get vaccinated and boosted, noting that while people may still get infected with the virus, they will be less susceptible to severe illness or death. She noted that during the 30-day period ending Jan. 17, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate six times higher than those who were fully vaccinated with the latest booster.
Unvaccinated people also died at a rate four times higher than vaccinated people, according to the county.
Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities in the county, and for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. Masks are strongly recommended for high-risk individuals, and for people riding public transit.